A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be at my brother’s house while the play off football games were going on. It was the weekend we would find out who would play at the Super Bowl. My nephews eagerly shared with me stats and who their favorite players were. My daughter, who adores her cousins, just sat in bewilderment at this knowledge. As we watched, she continued to say she just didn’t get what was going on. I remembered last year while watching the Super Bowl she just wanted to understand all of the numbers at the bottom of the screen. She knew then and again when she sat with her cousins, that she should know what is going on but had no clue and really knew deep down… she didn’t really care.
When we got home from the weekend and started talking about the “big game”, she kept asking who she should cheer for. More soccer fans in our house than football fans, we didn’t have much of an opinion. We decided to take a different approach to game day. We decided to make the game more interesting and make it have meaning that connected to her. My husband approached the question of who to go for in this way. M, he said, you have to choose between your two passions, reading and history. He quickly explained that the Baltimore Ravens are named after a literary work from the Baltimore resident, Edgar Allen Poe. While the San Francisco 49ers, honor a time in history and those that rushed west for gold. Our daughter immediately jumped into the discussion and debate. We had to make this game meaningful and now it is. She is actively debating which would be best for her to cheer for.
Yes, I know at this point anyone reading this with any sense of the true nature of the game is rolling their eyes. But the Super Bowl is a cultural part of who we are in America. And I know that perhaps I should be doing a better job in teaching my daughter the ins and outs of the game and the stats like my brother has done so well with his boys. And someday, she will come around. But I had to make it work for her. She is now eager for Sunday and to see how it all plays out.
This makes me consider what I see our teachers doing everyday in the classroom. Not all of us are natural mathematicians or eager readers, but we all have to learn it. I witness everyday teachers bringing these subjects to life in unique ways in order to engage all learners. Knowing how we each learn differently, allows educators to teach with richer direction. Knowing our own learning styles and passions can help us as well.
I encourage you to use this to reflect on how to continue to encourage your child in the areas they struggle in AND the areas they excel in. Consider how we can link these two for our students to help engage them deeper.
So in our house on Sunday evening, we will be watching the battle between literacy and history. Who will win? Oh yeah… we will be watching football!

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